Our Urban History

Seaside City of Bremerhaven

Historically speaking, and compared with other German and European towns, the city of Bremerhaven is quite a recent phenomenon.

Within the present city boundaries, however, human settlement dates back to the middle ages, with the Lehe district being mentioned as early as 1273.

But it was not until the rise of world trade and overseas shipping that the way was paved for the foundation of the present city, which took place in 1827. The traditional Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, situated 60 kilometres upstream, had been looking for a suitable site for a new port at the seaboard and acquired a strip of land on the coast from the Kingdom of Hanover. An artificial basin, known today as the Alter Hafen (“old harbor”) was constructed. From then until the present day, the port facilities have been continuously modernized and expanded. In the years before 1914, when world trade and international shipping boomed, the city developed into a significant overseas and fisheries port, which also boasted notable shipyards. But most important of all was surely the transatlantic service to New York, run by the legendary North German Lloyd shipping line based in Bremen (1857). This company operated with large passenger liners departing from Bremerhaven to their overseas destinations. A large number of emigrants, hoping for a better life in the States, said goodbye to the old continent as they left Bremerhaven.

The city itself was separated from Bremen and united with neighbouring Wesermünde in 1939, which had originally consisted of the communities Lehe and Geestemünde. They had merged in 1924, but now, the name of Wesermünde was extended to the whole city. Having suffered heavily in the Second World War, the city regained the name Bremerhaven in 1947. Since then, it has been part of the Federal State of Bremen. Today, Bremerhaven (with about 117 000 inhabitants in 2004) is still a shipbuilding location as well as an important container port, but also much more. Prominent scientific institutes have also established themselves there: the Bremerhaven College, the German Maritime Museum, the Bremerhaven Historical Museum, the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar Research (AWI), the Bremerhaven Zoo and the Climate Experience Center.

Für Tipps, Tickets und Termine in und rund um Bremerhaven steht Ihnen die Erlebnis Bremerhaven GmbH gerne zur Verfügung.


Erlebnis Bremerhaven GmbH
Bremerhaven Touristik & Tourist-Infos
H.-H.-Meier-Straße 6
27568 Bremerhaven


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